UC Regents propose fee increase for 2003-04

    Students at the University of California may face an increase in education registration fees for the first time since 1994, according to a budget proposal made by the UC Board of Regents for the 2003-04 fiscal year.

    The proposal, made at the regents meeting held Nov. 13 and Nov. 14 in San Francisco, includes a 6.5 percent increase in resident student fees to cover rising costs that would normally be bought out by the state in accordance with the State-University Partnership agreement. UC officials said the state will probably not be able to absorb the rising costs in the 2003-04 school year due to California’s sizable $21 billion deficit.

    “”What the Regents’ proposal calls for is a fee increase or equivalent revenue from the state,”” said UC Spokesperson Brad Hayward. “”In the last eight years, the state has provided the funding to buy out the fee increases. Now the situation is different, with the state facing a massive budget challenge.””

    During the economic boom of the late 1990s, the UC Regents decided to reduce fees by a cumulative 10 percent over the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 fiscal years. Since then, fees have remained at $3,429 per school year.

    The 6.5 percent increase would raise fees by $225 per year, or less than $80 per quarter. Nonresident fees are scheduled to rise by an additional 4 percent, completing a cumulative increase of 10 percent made in the 2002-03 budget.

    UC Vice President for Budget Larry Hershman maintains that access to the University of California is still available for students of all economic situations, citing a provision that allocates one-third of the money generated by the increase back to undergraduate financial aid.

    Student leaders are not as optimistic about the ability of some students to accommodate the additional expense.

    “”I am extremely concerned with the possibility of an increase in student fees,”” said A.S. Vice President External Steve Klass. “”The more fees are raised, the less accessible we become.””

    Klass, who serves as the chair for the UC Student Association, emphasizes that the state should uphold its end of the State-University Partnership in order to “”maintain the accessibility, affordability and quality of the UC system.””

    Hershman contends that increasing fees, while likely, is not the only option the university considered when it was approached by state budget officials to prepare a scenario in which the university lost 20 percent of its funding.

    One option considered by the regents is to reduce funding for research programs. According to Margaret F. Pryatel, the vice chancellor of resource management, at least three research projects and facilities at UCSD — the Interstate 5/Gilman Drive Bridge Project, the San Diego Supercomputer Center and U.S.-Mexico Studies — have been approached by the university to create 5 and 50 percent reduction scenarios.

    The regents are also considering delaying restoration of State-University Partnership funding cuts made in the 2002-03 budget to libraries, equipment, building maintenance and instructional technology.

    Another challenge the University of California faces, Pryatel said, is the additional enrollment of 8,000 undergraduates the university must carry in the 2003-04 schoolyear. Four thousand of these students are considered “”overenrolled,”” meaning that the state is not providing the funding for them. In 2002-03, UCSD was overenrolled by 500 students.

    The Regents’ proposal will now be analyzed by Gov. Gray Davis’ budget office. Davis, who has yet to specify to where the remaining $750 million in reductions for the 2002-03 state budget will be made, is expected to present his budget proposal to a legislative analyst in January.

    “”It’s still early in the process,”” Hayward said. “”We really won’t have a good sense as to what the state’s budget priorities are for a couple months.””

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal